Two weeks ago one of my friends, @RyanDGates, challenged me to get a hold of Ralph Winter (the Executive Producer for X-Men). To be honest, I didn’t make the challenge of talking with him in three days but I did get a hold of him a few days after. From that contact I’ve started to understand that I want to be a Producer and his insight has truly blessed me. Prior to this event I’ve always had a focus on getting to know people with the interpersonal skills I’ve learned.
Every day I try to meet someone new and build a true relationship out of it. This idea of expanding my network takes a lot of work yet many people think that it just comes naturally. Here is the thing; it is possible for anyone to truly network with ease. The social networking world has given us a key to starting our networking in a simple way. Through the internet we are able to have an icebreaker type of conversation that leads to a simple coffee shop, Skype call, and/or e-mail. The thing is, as you put time into networking you will find that it can shape where you will go.
Personally, I want to be an Executive Producer and have tried to get a hold of people that can help guide my knowledge, teach, and even mentor me as I try to move forward in this. That is one reason I took up the challenge from Ryan. I am always searching for people to network with so I can get better at what I love.
Here is a simple thought, if you love something and want to learn more about it, count to three and get off your butt and just ask. Here are the three things that I am trying to implement and will continue to try and implement.
- Observe the scenario
- Simply ask to talk
- Always follow through
There are always a million things that I could list of things to do but simplicity is the best. So, as you go into a situation, observe the scenario and see the mood and body language of the person you are going to network with. If you are on the internet, a lot of the time you can ignore this first step but respect that the internet needs to be filtered.
You can use social networks to break the ice if you don’t feel bold enough. There really is no excuse not to use what you have and contact people to find a moment where they have 30 minutes, respect it, and follow through. People are usually open to talk, simply ask to talk and you will see the results. When I contacted Ralph Winter, that’s all I did, I asked to simply talk.
I continually forget, always follow through. Recently I e-mailed Mateo Massina (Juno composer) to speak with him about his story of success as a composer, got a hold of him and we had coffee. The thing is, he asked me to send him a website about the watch I was wearing. That opened up a new conversation and continual communication after we had met.
A network of individuals you can talk with can help you in any and every way. Think about it, if you have a hundred individuals out there who know you the probability of them remembering you and your talent in the future is extravagantly bigger.
The only way to make sure they remember you is to speak when spoken to and listen the majority of the time. When I say listen, I truly mean listen. The greatest thing that I’ve learned while trying to network is the ability to listen. As you ask questions, people become more inclined to talk especially if you are interested. They will talk about themselves and that is the goal then follow through to ask you.
In some ways, we are born to network yet we often forget to and don’t observe the scenario, ask, and/or follow through. But if we do all three, we can build a network of individuals who can help us take a step forward in our lives. Take it as a challenge, try to meet three people in the next week and see how much you may have in common and/or can learn. It is a challenge I take up every week.